This month I’ve featured a lot of articles on “Love Your Reader, Love Your Art, Love Yourself” and today I think my last post on that theme fits it nicely.
I grew up in a household that was lead by people who had nothing nice to say. If the sky was blue, they’d find a cloud somewhere. If we found a dollar on the sidewalk, then it wouldn’t be enough to make a difference. If we got the day off from work, it wouldn’t have been told early enough to make the time useful. Everything was insufficient, faulty or stupid. It wasn’t until just recently that I realized how that attitude poisons my life. I challenged myself to watch what I said and to stop complaining. I thought that by stopping the bad attitude was just a generally a good step in the direction of restraint. I had no idea that this would change nearly everything about my life.
Saw the world for what it was. The glass really is half full! How delightful to discover little surprises in my day that I only discovered because I decided to live in light, not darkness.
Had more friends. I can’t believe it took me over 40 years to find out that people are attracted to happy people, not angry ones. Who knew? I had always thought that there was virtue in honesty. Now I’m seeing that negative thoughts, kept to ones self, can open doors in a way that negative words spoken will only shut.
Became more trustworthy. This is another Who Knew moment! The people that was spending time with — those who were attracted to me for my optimism — were more willing to trust me with their real selves. This strengthened my friendships. And I suppose if I gave up the fact that they were trying to hurt me, then my vulnerability made me a better friend too.
Worried less. I really believe that all my negativity was rooted in fear. If I chose to be less negative and chose to dwell on the positive, then all those bad things that I thought were going to happen never happened. Now, after practicing thinking rainbows and sunshine I’ve gotten to where if I ever feel afraid, then I know it’s because I’m thinking the wrong things.
Had more ideas. A fearless, brave, positive person will most definitely take more chances than a fearful, angry, worried person. By releasing my negativity, I was far more willing to move forward on my ideas, try new things and forget failure. This also added a lot to my happiness.
Had more energy. Negativity does something to me. It makes me tired and restless. It drives me to eat too much or sleep too late. By thinking happy thoughts, not only was I confident that I could tackle my to-do list, but I also make exercise a priority, which made me more energetic. This was surprising and very encouraging.
I had fun. Another surprise. It is more fun to be happy than to be sad. Funny: when you choose to be happy, you’re taking responsibility for your own happiness and fun rather than having it come to you. I didn’t know this before even though it makes perfect sense. It also makes me regret wasting all that time being negative.
Doors opened up to me. If I’m more attractive to others and I’m taking more risks, then more opportunities will come to me too. All the things that I want out of life are on the other side of fear and negativity. Hmm. If that isn’t motivation to put a smile on my face, I don’t know what is!
I set a good example. We all face things that we don’t like on a daily basis, but whining and complaining to the leadership rarely helps. I am a leader in my family — I am the mother. And when my children complain, I listen to legitimate concerns, but I also want to teach them that their attitudes make my job easier. Let’s all choose to be happy, even when circumstances aren’t great and we’ll probably grow stronger for it.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t completely given it up. I catch myself sometimes creating a long mental list of everything that is wrong with my life. But the difference is now I see it and I stop it as soon as I can. I have friends around me who I can be honest with about this. I can keep myself from picking up more negativity like a lint brush and making things worse.
I see now that my complaining is like illness causing bacteria. Complaining can cause rifts and divisions, bring down a mood, make others miserable and spread like conjunctivitis in a kindergarten class. If I choose a good attitude then I’m doing what I can to fight the infectious negativity around me.
What about you? What do you do to combat negativity in your life? I want to know!